Man sentenced for abducting girl from family's tent at remote Australian campsite

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to one charge of deprivation of liberty and one charge of indecent dealing with a child.

Man sentenced for abducting girl from family's tent at remote Australian campsite

Brisbane, Australia CNN

A man who confessed to abducting a 4-year-old girl from a remote campsite, Western Australia and keeping her there for 18 days in the midst of a huge police search was sentenced to 13 year and 6 months imprisonment.

Terence Kelly, 37, pleaded guilty in abducting Cleo from the tent she was sleeping in with her family in October 2021. He was sentenced Wednesday at Perth's District Court.

Cleo's disappearance led to a police search that covered many kilometers of the site. The hunt was extended nationwide by the state government, who offered a reward for any information leading to her location.

Over two weeks, the police gathered evidence including phone data, interviews and phone calls from hundreds of people. Her distraught parents appealed for their help in finding her.

The information eventually pointed to a single-story home in Carnarvon on the coast, approximately 73 km (45 miles) from the campsite where she disappeared.

Just after midnight on November 3rd 2021, four officers entered the house near the family home to find Cleo in her bedroom alone.

"To see her sitting there in that way was amazing," Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine said to reporters on the day she was discovered.

"I wanted to make sure that it was her, so he said, "What's your name?" He said.

According to police, she said that her name was Cleo.

According to CNN affiliate 9 News, Kelly wasn't there when Cleo was discovered. He was taken into custody in the town after police pulled his car over.